Neurofascin-186 (NF186), neuronal cell adhesion molecule (NrCAM), and gliomedin are adhesion molecules playing a central role in the formation of nodes of Ranvier. In Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), immune attack toward the nodes may participate in the disabilities. Autoantibodies to NF186 and gliomedin have been detected in a rat model of GBS. Here, we investigated the prevalence of antibodies against nodal adhesion molecules in patients with GBS or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Sera from 100 GBS patients, 50 CIDP patients, 80 disease controls, and 50 healthy controls were tested for their ability to bind the nodes of Ranvier. To characterize the antigens, we performed cell binding assays against NF186, gliomedin, contactin, and NrCAM. We found that 43% of patients with GBS and 30% of patients with CIDP showed IgG fixation at nodes or paranodes. In eight patients with GBS or CIDP, we identified that IgG antibodies recognized the native extracellular domain of NF186, gliomedin, or contactin. Also, 29 patients showed IgM against nodal adhesion molecules. However, we did not detect IgM fixation at nodes or paranodes. Antibodies to gliomedin or NF186 were mostly detected in demyelinating and axonal GBS, respectively. The adsorption of the antibodies to their soluble antigens abolished IgG deposition at nodes and paranodes in nerves, indicating these were specific to NF186, gliomedin, and contactin. In conclusion, gliomedin, NF186, and contactin are novel target antigens in GBS. At nodes, additional epitopes are also the targets of IgG. These results suggest that antibody attack against nodal antigens participates in the etiology of GBS.
© 2012 Peripheral Nerve Society.